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Ethan Nowak
University College London
  1.  33
    No Context, No Content, No Problem.Ethan Nowak - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
    Recently, philosophers have offered compelling reasons to think that demonstratives are best represented as variables, sensitive not to the context of utterance, but to a variable assignment. Variablists typically explain familiar intuitions about demonstratives—intuitions that suggest that what is said by way of a demonstrative sentence varies systematically over contexts—by claiming that contexts initialize a particular assignment of values to variables. I argue that we do not need to link context and the assignment parameter in this way, and that we (...)
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  2.  23
    Multiculturalism, Autonomy, and Language Preservation.Ethan Nowak - forthcoming - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy.
    In this paper, I show how a novel treatment of speech acts can be combined with a well-known liberal argument for multiculturalism in a way that will justify claims about the preservation, protection, or accommodation of minority languages. The key to the paper is the claim that every language makes a distinctive range of speech acts possible, acts that cannot be realized by means of any other language. As a result, when a language disappears, so does a class of speech (...)
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  3. Demonstratives Without Rigidity or Ambiguity.Ethan Nowak - 2014 - Linguistics and Philosophy 37 (5):409-436.
    Most philosophers recognize that applying the standard semantics for complex demonstratives to non-deictic instances results in truth conditions that are anomalous, at best. This fact has generated little concern, however, since most philosophers treat non-deictic demonstratives as marginal cases, and believe that they should be analyzed using a distinct semantic mechanism. In this paper, I argue that non-deictic demonstratives cannot be written off; they are widespread in English and foreign languages, and must be treated using the same semantic machinery that (...)
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  4.  15
    Discourse and Method.Ethan Nowak & Eliot Michaelson - forthcoming - Linguistics and Philosophy.
    Stojnić et al. (2013, 2017) argue that the reference of demonstratives is fixed without any contribution from the extra-linguistic context. On their `prominence/coherence' theory, the reference of a demonstrative expression depends only on its context-independent linguistic meaning. Here, we argue that Stojnić et al.’s striking claims can be maintained in only the thinnest technical sense. Instead of eliminating appeals to the extra-linguistic context, we show how the prominence/coherence theory merely suppresses them. Then we ask why one might be tempted to (...)
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